Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

THE PHANTOMS OF THE BOUGHS ON THE WINDOW


 

I sit before my fire in the waning April light,
Where like an awful genie comes the shadow of the night.
Outside the naked elms moan the vanished season’s grief,
And a windy, pallid flicker throws in ghastly, dim relief,
The phantoms of the boughs on the window.
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To the fire I draw my chair, but I know that they are there,
Those terrible, wan ghosts of the dead, gone year’s despair.
And I try to dream of hope, but my heart can only grope,
In the darkness, like a drowning man who clutches for a rope,
With those phantoms of the boughs on my window.
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For they seem so like the ghosts of my own departed dreams,
Where the skeleton remains of the lift that only seems:
For they also nestled blossoms, and the birds sang on each bough,
And the sunbeams wove each girdle, but what remaineth now
But the phantoms of the boughs on the window?
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So I had my summer’s youth, when I dreamed life was truth,
And I dared with laughing lips the approach of fate and ruth:
But the visions are all fled, with the skies no longer red,
And I bow my lonely head, for my genius it is dead,
Like the phantoms of the boughs on the window.
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The summer comes again, and the music of the rain,
Will warm the elms back to the life that they would fain:
And the robins they will sing, where the cool, green banners fling,
But to me no joys will wing, but the dead boughs only cling,
Like the phantoms of the boughs at the window.
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And I know if one were dead, on the lonely chamber bed,
And a sad soul were divorced from the sorrow that men wed:
If a heart were still and silent from the fretting and the care:
I know they would be there, as if mocking mute despair,
The phantoms of the boughs on the window.
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